Elaine Forrestal

Making Isolation Work for Us

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The good thing about Christmas parties, apart from the special food and wine, is that I often get to talk to people I have worked with during the year. Of course we talk as part of our work, but the conversations are brief, organisational or reflective of the work itself. Chatting at Christmas gatherings I find that I know very little about my work mates as people.

This week I had a long and very interesting conversation with a designer who works on the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre team. Although she has just come back from working in Sweden, she grew up in Queensland. Separated as we are by our enormous island continent we nevertheless have a lot in common with Queenslanders when it comes to the battle for recognition of our talents.

After chatting for quite some time, however, we agreed that isolation can work in our favour. She feels that, here in the West, we have developed a distinctly West Australian voice. She was not talking about an accent, or even the different names they use for things like rockmelon (cantaloupe) and bathers (cosies), but about a particular way of viewing the world, which gives our stories a unique and distinctive flavour. Queenslanders, especially those who come from the tropical north, see the world very differently. Their stories are ‘water based’. Even when Queenslanders come from the remote inland they are never far from significant rivers. While we do have waterways here in the West they are few and far between. Even our humour is drier, she says.

So here’s to being different. Let’s celebrate what we have and turn it into an asset.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.